Art by Tom Grummett
|First appearance||As Jose Delgado:
Adventures of Superman #428
Adventures of Superman #434
|Created by||Marv Wolfman (writer)
Jerry Ordway (artist)
|Alter ego||Jose Delgado|
|Team affiliations||S.T.A.R. Labs|
|Supporting character of||Superman|
|Abilities||Skilled boxer and martial artist
Cybernetic enhancement implants in his legs
Gangbuster is a comic book fictional character, a DC Comics superhero. He first appeared as Jose Delgado in Adventures of Superman #428 (May 1987), and as Gangbuster in Adventures of Superman #434 (November 1987). He was created by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway.
Fictional character biography
Jose Delgado grew up in the Metropolis area known as Suicide Slum. As he grew older he became a skilled boxer. He went into teaching and ended up as a high school teacher in Metropolis. He became a mentor to Jerry White (the son of Perry White). When Lex Luthor enlisted youth gangs into organized crime under his control, Jose adopted the identity of Gangbuster to deal with the threat posed to the teenagers in his community.
Jose Delgado suffered a spinal injury while saving Lois Lane's life during a fight with a creature called Combattor (Ironically, Luthor had secretly created Combattor with the intention of framing Superman for the damage caused in Combattor's rampage, but Gangbuster's efforts not only contained Combattor but caused him to collapse when the implants that gave him his strength had negative consequences on his health). Delgado was hospitalized and talked into retiring by Cat Grant. He recovered the ability to walk with the assistance of a LexCorp cybernetic implant, similar to the implant later used on Maximum from the Supermen of America.
Delgado later discovered someone else was masquerading as Gangbuster, and using much more violent methods. This turned out to be an amnesiac Superman, who was suffering from a nervous breakdown after a fight with Brainiac.
After recovering Delgado discovered that the implant which enabled him to walk was a LexCorp invention, and that Lex Luthor could use it to take control of his body. Luthor forced Gangbuster to attack an ally of Superman's named Professor Emil Hamilton. Hamilton was later able to successfully alter the implant, allowing Jose to take control of his life again. Delgado's life later fell apart and he had trouble keeping jobs.
Delgado had limited personal relationships with Cat Grant. They became very close while he served as her bodyguard, but he did not get along with her young son Adam. Delgado resumed his career as Gangbuster following Superman's apparent death at the hands of Doomsday. He got into trouble when he broke up a drug deal only to discover that it was part of an undercover police operation. Pursued by the police, he went on the run.
An ultraviolent Gangbuster later showed up in Black Lightning's hometown of Brick City. Black Lightning discovered that this wasn't the real Gangbuster, but a shapechanger named Ishmael, an operative of Tobias Whale. The real Jose Delgado Gangbuster soon showed up and later helped him defeat Ishmael.
Gangbuster returned in issue #1 of the weekly mini-series known as Trinity. In issue #5 he debuted an updated version of his body armor with a portable arsenal of non-lethal weaponry. He was forced out of retirement by witnessing the kidnapping of mystic Tarot (to whom he appointed himself guardian). At the end of the series, with reality returned to normal, Gangbuster and Tarot began a relationship.
Jose soon tracked Tarot to the castle headquarters of Despero, Morgana Le Fey and the villain known as Enigma. He and Hawkman infiltrated the castle and spend days fighting through its denizens, as time and space were much different inside from outside. They rescued Tarot from a trio of stone monsters.
Gangbuster and Dr. Light investigate an object that crashes into a Metropolis park and leaves a massive crystallized crater in its center. While searching the crater, the two heroes discover a Bizarro Supergirl. The Bizarro Supergirl takes Gangbuster and Dr. Light hostage, but is ultimately defeated in battle by the real Supergirl.
Powers and abilities
Jose Delgado has no superpowers but is a skilled boxer and martial artist. When Jose was crippled on duty as the Gangbuster he was forced to accept Lex Luthor's agreement and treatment to return the function of his legs to him using cybernetic enhancement. However, Luthor's cybernetic components also allowed him to control Jose's movement if necessary.
In the alternate 'Trinity' universe, Gangbuster is one of the few entities to recognize and understand reality is not as it should be. He allies himself with that universe's version of Alfred Pennyworth.
- Beatty, Scott (2008). "Gangbuster". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 135. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Byrne, John, Jerry Ordway (w), Byrne, John, Jerry Ordway (p), Beatty, John (i). "Point of View" Adventures of Superman 437 (February, 1988), DC Comics
- Black Lightning (vol. 2) #6 (July 1995)
- Black Lightning (vol. 2) #7 (August 1995)
- Black Lightning (vol. 2) #8 (September 1995)
- Trinity #1-5 (June–July 2008) by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley
- Trinity #16 (September 2008)
- Supergirl (vol. 5) #53 (June 2010)
- Supergirl (vol. 5) #54 (July 2010)
- Supergirl (vol. 5) #55 (August 2010)
- Supergirl (vol. 5) #56 (September 2010)
- DCU Guide: Gangbuster
- DCU Guide chronology: Gangbuster
- DCU Guide additional chronology: Gangbuster
- Superman Homepage: Gangbuster
- Cosmic Teams: Cat Grant